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Do I Need a Work Permit?

Many people see work permits as a golden ticket to living and working in the United States. Work permits are often seen as a way for undocumented workers, nonimmigrants, immigrants, or anyone who is not eligible for most other types of visas to work legally in the US. But there are two questions on many people's minds: how long does it take a work permit to process? and What is the process to get a work permit?

Work Permits allow the recipient to legally work in the United States for a limited period of time. These cards are issued by USCIS and are valid for a specific period (typically one year). The successful applicant will be granted employment authorization which allows them to work and apply for a social security card and driver's license.

It is no secret that the U.S. has a shortage of workers in many industries. Many undocumented immigrants are looking for ways to legally work in the United States. A popular option is through applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or "work permit."

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues work permits to non-citizens who are legally authorized to work in the United States.

Getting a work permit can be very confusing, especially if you're not familiar with the process of applying for one. You may also have questions regarding how long it will take before your application is approved or denied, whether you need an attorney's assistance in filing, or what happens if you don't get a response from USCIS within a few months after submitting your application. 

We created this page as an informational resource on all aspects of obtaining and maintaining employment authorization documents (EADs), including information about eligibility requirements, fees and payments, forms required by USCIS when applying for EADs such as I-765s 

"How can I get a work permit in the US if I am undocumented?"

You can apply for a work permit using Form I-765 if you are in the US but not authorized to work 

Many people are not aware that if you live in the United States but are not authorized to work, you can apply for a work permit. The process begins with filling out an I-765 form and submitting it with supporting documentation to the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once your application has been approved, you will be able to take that card to Social Security and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for Social Security card and driver's license.

A work permit is a document issued by the USCIS allowing an immigrant or nonimmigrant to work in America on a temporary basis. It can be terminated for a number of reasons such as a criminal conviction, denial of an associated application, or (in some instances) illegal presence. To apply for this type of employment authorization, you must submit Form I-765 with all appropriate documentation to your Regional Service Center. You must also meet certain restrictions like having a particular immigration status (such as awaiting adjustment of permanent residence), and demonstrating good moral character while waiting for approval of the employment authorization card.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, and your status in the country is unauthorized, then you can not legally work. However, if you are living in the US and would like to change or adjust your immigration status or apply for a green card (legal permanent residence), then this could take many months or even years.

In order to support yourself while waiting for an application to be processed by USCIS (the government agency responsible for processing applications for residencies as well as work permits), it may be necessary to find another way of generating income. This can be difficult without legal permission to work in the United States.

The good news is that there is an option available right now that allows many people who are already present on US soil but do not yet have permission from USCIS to live and work here. That option is the work permit/employment authorization. But it must be done right and it must be done carefully. Many people file these improperly and end up in even more trouble.

How long does it take to get a work permit?

The application process will take about 5-7 months and it can be complicated so if you want to make sure your application goes smoothly, it is best to hire an experienced immigration law firm to guide you through the process. In some of our cases our clients were able to get their work permits in weeks instead of months.

What form do I fill out and what is the filing fee?

You will need to fill out Form I-765 and pay the filing fee of $410 

Moving to a new country can be exciting, but also stressful. You need to find an apartment, enroll your children in school and maybe even get a job. But one of the most difficult things is getting a work permit for yourself or your family members who are not citizens yet.

If you don't have legal status, it is hard to get jobs that pay well enough to support you and your family because employers will be afraid of hiring someone they think might disappear at any moment. Getting a green card can take years and thousands of dollars in fees.

The good news is that there are experienced immigration law firms like ours who know how the system works so we can guide you through every step of the way so everyone gets approved as quickly as possible while avoiding mistakes that could delay the process or cause problems

What will I get for all this time and trouble in filing for a work permit?

If your application is approved, you'll receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You might be asking yourself, "what's the point?" Well, aside from giving you a way to earn an income and provide for your family, working in this country is an investment in your future as well. You'll be learning how our society operates on a daily basis and will have more opportunities to gain new skills that will help you find better work when you return home.  It is the first important step towards starting your new life here.

What do you need help with?

I want to get legal status!
I need help stopping deportation!
I have another type of legal problem!

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